Olympian Helping Houston Kids Learn to Swim

May 21, 2009
By Chris Richter

Olympic gold medalist Cullen Jones ’06 is doing some great work around the country getting kids — especially minorities — involved in swimming. The Houston Chronicle today recounts Jones’ own experience as a 5-year-old who didn’t know how to swim:

Jones was 5 when he went cascading down a slide at a water park, clinging for dear life to an inner tube. The next thing he knew, he was asking his parents which ride he could go on next.

He doesn’t remember the mouth-to-mouth, CPR part of the story.

In a piece posted on the newspaper’s Web site, Jones writes about the “staggering statistics” related to drownings:

African-American kids drown at a rate 2.6 times higher than Caucasian kids and drowning is the second-leading cause of injury-related death for children ages 1-14 years. Almost 60 percent — six out of 10 — African American and Hispanic/Latino children cannot swim.

There’s a lot of great information on the Web about Jones and the work he’s doing. His Make a Splash with Cullen Jones tour will be making stops in six cities around the country this year. The USA Swimming Foundation has more clips of Jones working with kids at Make a Splash events. And he talks about minorities and swimming in this 2007 clip from the BET show Ballers.

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